A warm-modern townhouse in North London
Perseverance and determination to find a plot in their much-loved area of north London resulted in this warm, modern family self-build, belonging to interior designer and stylist, Tash South and her husband, Richard.
In their two-year search for a plot of land in sought-after Crouch End, Tash and Richard would wander around the area, street by street, at the weekends, their baby daughter in her buggy, following up on every disused garage and little pocket of space they could find. It paid off, as a year later they were the owners of the overgrown back half of a garden, which formed a sloping plot in between the garden of the house behind, and the front of what would become their new street.
After interviewing three different architectural practices, they hired MAB Architects to design the light-filled, four-bedroom house, and to help with the challenging planning process. The house sits in a conservation area, so many additional caveats and regulations had to be adhered to, but even with the restrictions they’ve ended up with a well-designed, light, modern family home, completed to Code 4 sustainability.
The build lasted just over a year, with many obstacles to overcome, as expected with any self-build. And of course, like any good build project, Tash became pregnant with their second daughter halfway through the process! A main contractor was hired to complete the shell of the house, then, with the help of the architects, Tash and Richard took over the project management themselves, employing individual contractors tocomplete the internal finish and all services. Not a route Tash would always recommend, as it requires maximum client involvement, but budget restrictions on the project required a different approach, and the couple did also have experience with other building projects in the past.
Naturally, Tash took on the interior design herself. “I wanted to create a modern, but warm and welcoming family home, many new-builds can feel cold, white and boxy, so I worked with MAB Architects to include elements that added character to the bones of the building, like the painted beams and exposed Danish brickwork. The interior design follows my philosophy of designing modern spaces that bring ease to our daily lives, through simplicity, comfort and tactility – and with plenty of bespoke storage – a huge part of successful interior design in my opinion.”
The house is compact at around 140 square metres, so Tash has used some clever elements to increase the feeling of spaciousness. The pale oak herringbone flooring used throughout, the wall-hung sanitary-ware in the bathrooms, the large panel-like doors and multi-functional bespoke storage all add to the illusion of the house being larger than it actually is. Tash has also used a base palette of natural wood, brass and black throughout the house, which creates a sense of continuity, and further adds to the sense of spaciousness. She has included some bold design elements in her home, the entire snug living room is completely painted black, and the kitchen island is completely clad in natural brass.
“Once the modern basics and practicalities have been dealt with, you have to include some elements that show your personality in your home, have fun with it!”
Having completed the house and moved in in 2018, Tash says, “The best thing about this house is the open-plan living space and kitchen we’ve created, it’s a dream come true to be in this area that we love, and have enough space to entertain friends and family in our new home.”
Architectural Design: MAB Architects
Interior Design and Styling: Tash South
Photo Credit: Michelle Beatty for MAB Architects